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Speech of Gov. Sharee Ann T. Tan during the 113th Philippine Independence Day Celebration

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Samar climbers help set new world record

By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
June 19, 2011

BORONGAN CITY  –  Out of 8,000 climbers in the country who signed up for the trek, around 6,700 of them have successfully scaled 70 mountains marking the country’s 113th Independence Day celebration on June 12, 2011, records of the organizers revealed.

And among the 6,700 mountaineers, around 99 of them came from the three provinces of Samar Island who likewise conquered the highness (with 470 meters above sea level) of Mount Kapudlusan in Brgy. Del Pilar, Maydolong, Eastern Samar.

Mountaineer Jade Acidre, president of the organizing Alliance of Filipino Mountaineers Incorporated (FIMOInc.), said though they are still waiting for the official pronouncement coming from the Guinness World Record (GWR) Adjudicators in the Philippines, “we believe the record of 600 climbers set by UK and Ireland has been replaced by our new records.”

Dubbed as the “Freedom Climb 2011”, the third of its kind in the Philippines is an attempt to break a Guinness World Record (Most people in an Ascent on Multiple Mountains) and to set a new Guinness World Record Criterion on Most people to Summit Multiple Mountains nationwide.

According to Benjie Panaguiton, Area Coordinator for Samar Island said the 99 people who scaled Mt. Kapudlusan traversed the mountain and river trails for at least 4-8 long hours of trekking from the jump-off point to the base camp and to the summit peak.

The 23-man team of the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) led by Project Manager Manolito Ragub, who also joined the record attempt, reported sightings of the rare Philippine Eagle during their 3-day camping in the Borongan-Llorente Closed Canopy Forest – the official “trek route” of the event.

The SINP along with the Maydolong LGU and other officials of the province partly shared resources to make the event successful.

Meanwhile, Rommel L. Rutor of Centro Outdoors based in Catbalogan City who earlier endorsed Mt. Huraw in San Jose de Buan as one of the venue facilitated the gathering of other climbers from Catbalogan, Calbayog in Samar and Catarman and Laoang in Northern Samar including the Tribu Hibatang, Baktasi, Laoang Spelunkers, SFC in Catbalogan and other walk-in participants.

Centro Outdoors is noted in organizing similar events such as cave congresses, tour packages and tourism promotions of Samar Island. “What we actually want in joining the event is to help unite mountaineers in the island and place Samar in the global maps, enjoying the scenery is just a bonus, Rutor said.

Preparations

Prior to the June 12 assault, the Centro Outdoors has been helping the BANOG in Eastern Samar gather a wide numbers of participants for the Mt. Kapudlusan climb. They set up a group page wherein tips for the beginners, trash management during climbs, “what-to-do” and the “what-to-bring” tips can be accessed.

Upon arrival of participants at the Eastern Samar Development Foundation (ESADEF) office in Borongan, Panaguiton gave lectures on the Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) which reminds each participant their duties and responsibilities during the trek.

“First time climbers will have to make sure their bodies are conditioned for this kind of activity,” Panaguiton said. Aside from physical preparations, the mountaineers also had to have the right tools – backpacks, tents, outdoor gear.

Important rules in mountaineering are: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time”; no wearing of any kinds of military gears and clothes, and observe trail and camping ethics.

According to Panaguiton, mountaineers are not allowed to use soap when mountain climbing because soap has chemicals that may pollute the water sources in the areas they visit. “Definitely, this is a soap-less climb,” he said.

When camping, mountaineers should also bring their own camping stoves with extra butane or gas, cook set and eating utensils to make sure of their comfortability.

Every climber should also be physically fit and ensure good stamina and must prepare first-aid kit medicines.

The climb

At exactly 8 o’clock in the morning of June 11, participants with big backpacks, on board private and public vehicles slowly appearing in front of the town’s municipal building. They were given freebies such as their yellow commemorative t-shirts, PVC and event ID’s, and final briefing.

After a short inspirational message by the Maydolong mayor, the climbers on-board two 6x6 trucks were transported to Brgy Del Pilar, Maydolong, the jump off site, via snake bumpy roads crossing a river with a land travel time of almost one and a half hour.

“Events like this generate employment among locals. This also draws them nearer to the environment and makes them understand the reason why we have to protect it,” Floyd Ramos, president of BANOG said.

“In fact, we have hired several guides and porters and paid them huge amount for 4 days. The SINP also plans to organize them into a People’s Organization and will train them in the coming weeks”, Ramos added.

On Independence Day, June 12, 2011, the climbers hoisted the Philippine Flag, and at 9:00 AM sang the Philippine National Anthem simultaneous to other mountains in the country sides.

After few briefing and photo documentation, one by one, the climbers reached the summit of Mt. Kapudlusan, measured to 470 meters above sea level.

Each climber who reached the summit signed in the official master lists, submitted their issued PVC ID for verification and was awarded a baller whose print read, “Freedom Climber 2011 – GWR ID No. 339189 FIMOinc.”

Youngest record breaker

From among the 99 climbers who trek long hours of hard and muddy terrain, a young boy climber aged 3 or 4 also joined his father in scaling the summit. The boy was considered a “guest” climber since organizers does not encourage participant at his age to join the hike.

The boy was only known as certain “Yama” whose father, a government employee and a mountaineer, also one of the registered participants.

Everybody who sees the boy “amazed, surprised and impressed with the boy’s stamina,” says Roxy Joy Azura, the Tourism officer of Maydolong.

He even overtakes other climbers during the hard and exhausting ascent to the summit. The boy and his father, after descending from the summit did not took even a short rest in the base camp as his father will report to office the next morning, says Ms. Azura.

The summit

Mt. Kapudlusan’s peak offers everyone a virgin canopy rain forest. It has also two designated camping sites in between trails. Huge Lawaan and Balete trees were also present in the area which is often covered in fog.

At the base camp, one may take a side trip to the Nagkakalatun Natural Bridge or Canal, Gold Panning Area (main livelihood of the farmers living in the area), Waterfalls, Rapids, Old Growth Forests, all inside the SINP Core Zone.